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“Ruff” Ideas to Create More Time

The dog days of summer are coming to a close… (a – like you need the reminder and b – what is a dog day? Well I’m glad you asked – according to Webster’s ,it’s the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere; a period of stagnation or inactivity).

It won’t be long before the kids are back in school, vacations are a distant memory, and you are back in the groove.

Which begs the question, how well is your groove working for you?

I often hear people lament – specifically on the work front – that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. Well the hours in a day are finite, how we use those hours is a choice.

How does one in essence create more time?

Rule # 1 – Multi-tasking is a myth. While we may be able to do a couple of rote tasks at the same time doing two or more things at once and/or switching tasks consistently – reading the report, checking e-mail, talking on the phone, back to the report – means our brain literally has to shift gears as different tasks use different parts of the brain. This mental gymnastics takes time – both the switching and the refocusing. Commit to a task and stick with it to get more done in less time. Rule # 2 – Energy = Productivity. You can have the best of intentions; be sitting in front of your computer, and even typing words however, if you are not in a peak state (i.e. high energy) you are accomplishing less. When we are in “flow”; that state where time flies by and what we are doing feels effortless, we achieve our personal best. We need to be accessing all of our brain to be in flow. Physical activity helps, drinking lots of water, and getting plenty of rest to name a few.

Rule # 3 – Prioritize. Business guru Peter Drucker said it best “Do first things first and second things not at all”. As human beings we are social creatures and research has shown “feeling in on things” is a prime motivator for employees. So much so that I believe people attend meetings they don’t have to, throw their hat in the ring to be part of a project when their expertise could be better utilized elsewhere. Make a list of everything you are currently working on. Prioritize what you feel will yield the highest return based on your organization’s goals. Do you have the time you need to work on this? If not, what could you drop to free up time? If you lack objectivity bring a trusted colleague into the scenario to help and offer to do the same for them.

Time really is on your side, it’s up to you to make sure it stays that way.

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